cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
My weekday mornings include listening to Jay Weber on WISN1130 radio. He began a discussion this morning concerning what he called, "truth in taxing". It makes a great deal of sense from my perspective, although I've chosen to call it Truth in Borrowing.
The premise is simple. When we borrow mortgage money from a lending institution, we are given a Truth in Lending form that explains all the ramifications of the loan we are about to receive, including what we will have paid back in total if the loan runs to its full amortization date and if our payments are each made on or before the due date.
I spoke with a good friend yesterday who was lamenting over the economy. He felt that business was off, money was tight, and that people weren't buying things. He happens to rely on the mainstream media for the information he receives, and is not nearly so addicted to the news cycle as am I.
We discussed the economy, and he was persuaded that it really wasn't all 'gloom and doom' as he'd been thinking it was.
A Germantown citizen, John M., provided me a copy of the e-mail letter he sent to Rep. Wasserman on October 20th. It seems that Rep. Wasserman knocked on the John M. residence door and spoke with Mrs. M. John M. then sent his letter seeking clarification on various matters so as to be able to make an informed decision about voting for either Rep. Wasserman or for incumbent Sen. Darling when that time comes.
I received a follow-up e-mail from John M. yesterday advising me that he had received no response to his original letter. He also mentioned that he had telephoned Rep. Wasserman's office on October 29th and left a message asking if the assemblyman would respond to his letter. He has since had no response to either his letter or the phone call.
I shouldn't peak at my spouse's e-mail, but this one intrigued me. Hope you enjoy a few of the recipes.
1-2-3 Cookies 7 Layer Cookies Allie Nelson's Famous Snickerdoodle Cookies Almond Crescent Shortbread Amish Sugar Cookies Andies Candies Cookies Angel Crisps Angenets Applesauce Cookies Apricot Fold-Overs Aunt Edy's Molasses Crinkles Auntie Linda's Ginger Gems Bakeless Dream Cookies Banana Drop Cookies Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World Biscotti Biscotti Blueberry Cookies Boiled Chocolate Oatmeal Drop Cookies Bronwnies Brown Sugar Shortbread Brownie Cookies Brownie Delight Brownies Buccaneer Snowballs Buried Cherry Cookies Butter Cookies Butter Nut Balls Butterballs Butterscotch Haystacks C.O.P. Cookies Candy Cane Cookies Candy Cookies Caramel Shortbread Cheesecake Brownies Cherry Buns Cherry Crowns Cherry Winks Chewies Chewy Noels Chinese Chews/Haystacks Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Chocolate Chip Cookies Chocolate Chip Meltaways Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies Chocolate Christmas Trees Chocolate Cream Cheese Squares Chocolate Crinkles Chocolate Mint Snow-Top Cookies Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (no bake) Chocolate Snowball Cookies Chocolate Streusel Bars Chocolate Sundae Cookies Chocolate Walnut Crumb Bars Choco-Scotch Crunchies Choose A Cookie Dough Recipe Christmas Crackers Christmas Crunch Bars Christmas Ginger Snaps Christmas Macaroons Christmas Mice Cookies Christmas Shaped Cookies Church Window Cookies Coconut Cookies Congo Squares Cookie in a Jar Corn Flakes Cookies
Cornflake Christmas Wreaths Cowboy Cookies (oatmeal) Cream Cheese Cookies with Apricot Filling CrÃ¨me De Menthe Chocolate Squares CrÃ¨me Wafers Crescent Cookies Crispy Crunchies Date Nut Balls Date-nut Pinwheel Cookies Diabetic Peanut Butter Cookies Disgustingly Rich Brownies Doodles Double chocolate chip cookies Double-Chocolate Crinkles Eatmore Cookies Eggnog Cookies Elizabeth's Sugar Cookies Elves Quick Fudge Brownies Emily Dickinson's Gingerbread Cookie Recipe Emily's Best Brownies Famous Oatmeal Cookies Firemen Cookies Fluffy Shortbread Cookies Forgotten Cookies Frosted Peanut Butter Brownies Fruit Cake Cookies Fruitcake Squares Fry Pan Cookies Gems Ginger Cookies Ginger Crinkles Gingerbread Baby Gingerbread Cookies with Butter Cream Icing Gingerbread Men Gingerbread Men Ginny's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Glory's Golden Graham Squares Glory's Sugar Cookies Gramma Chapman's chocolate coconut drops Grandma Elsie's Zimt (cinnamon) Cookies Grandma J's Butter Cookies Grandma Olson's Parkay Cookies Great Grandmothers Sugar Cookies Gum Drop Cookies Gumdrop Gems Haystack Cookies Ho-Ho Bars Holiday Cereal Snaps Holiday Chocolate Butter Cookies Holiday Raisin Walnut Bars Holly Cookies Hungarian Cookies (Little Nut Rolls) Ice Box Cookies Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies Italian Cookies Jacob's Peppermint Snowballs Jam Bars Jessica's Famous Brownies Jessie's Chocolate Chip Cookies Jubilee Jumbles Juliet's Peanut Butter Blossoms Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies
Kentucky Colonels Kiefle (cream cheese cookies with jam filling) Kifflings Kiss Cookies Lacy Swedish Almond Wafers Lemon Angel Bar Cookies Lemon Bars Lemon Cake Cookies Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies Lemon Squares Linzer Tarts Log Cabin Cookies Luscious Lemon Squares M&M Cookies Magic Cookie Bars Melt in Your Mouth Cutout Sugar Cookies Melting Shortbread Meme's Cream Cheese Cookies Milk Chocolate Florentine Cookies Mincemeat Cookies Mincemeat Goodies Molasses Cookies Molasses Forest Cookies Molasses Sugar Cookies Mom Mom's Crescent Cookies Mom-Mom's Ginger Cookies Mom's Nutmeg Sugar Cookies Mom's Old Fashion "Puffy" Sugar Cookies Monster Cookies Moravian Christmas Cookies Nana's Famous Soft Southern Cookies Nitey Nite Cookies No Bake Chocolate Cookies No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies No Bake Cookies No Bake Cookies No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies No-Bake Cookies Norwegian Sugar Cookies Nut Balls Oatmeal Bars Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Nut Cookies Oatmeal Coconut Crisps Oatmeal Cookies Oatmeal Scotchies Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies Ooey Gooey Caramel Chocolate Dunk Ooey Gooey Squares Orange Slice Cookies Parking Lot Cookies Peanut Blossoms Peanut Butter Bars Peanut Butter Blossoms Peanut Butter Cereal Cookies Peanut Butter Chewies Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars Peanut Butter Cookies Peanut Butter Cookies Peanut butter fingers Peanut Butter Reindeer Peanut Butter Surprises Peanut Marshmallow Cookies Pecan Puff Cookies Peppermint Snowballs
Rep. Wasserman stopped at my house after the Packer game today (that augers well for him) and agreed that he wanted to participate in the back and forth with Sen. Darling as we've been proposing for some time now. He'll surpass 7,500 doorbells rung in a day or two, by the way!
I am sending him the link information for Curmudgeon's Corner so he will be able to engage in our debate.
Governor Doyle's tax collection 'gorilla' is now promising tough enforcement action against those who use the Internet or cross state lines to buy cigarettes where taxes are less costly than Wisconsin. This comes into play on and after January 1, 2008.
I've not smoked a cigarette since July 5, 1985, so I don't have that dog in this fight. I can find another dog or two that I've got in this fight, however.
We vote for, and hope to elect, people who appear to be like-minded, or at least I hope that is the case. If we have certain positions that are important to us, we tend to try to identify the person running for office that is nearest to the position we hold. (Nearest becomes the operative term when we look to the coming Presidential election. None of those running meet all my tests, but I must select that person whom I believe is nearest. I cannot afford not to vote or to vote for the other candidate simply to register my protest.)
From American Solutions, we see the following report:
69% of Americans Believe Immigration Is 'Seriously Headed Off the Wrong Track'
The village board took the possibility of a $1.00 per visit fee for use of the recycling center off the table at its last meeting.
That is a sensible move given the fact that every Germantown citizen is required to use the recycling center.
Who? Why Governor Doyle, of course.
If you've not yet seen it or heard it, we have just been 'given' the expanded version of BadgerCare called BadgerCare Plus.
Ernie Kovacs, a television entertainer in the early years of TV, wrote most of his own jokes and had a great sense of humor.
I've paraphrased one of his quotes slightly...
You've probably heard more than enough about 'waterboarding', a technique employed (or not employed depending upon whom you choose to believe) to gather information from people who want to cause us harm.
The subject found itself heavily debated in the discussion about our new U.S. Attorney General, Michael Mukasey. Senators can seemingly connect everything to approvals of presidential appointments. Both Senators Kohl and Feingold chose to vote against the confirmation of Mukasey. Sen. Kohl was quoted as saying he did so because of Mukasey's unwillingness to call 'waterboarding' torture. Sen. Feingold used that as part of his reasoning, but he was more concerned with his age-old drive to increase Congress' authority at the expense of the Executive branch of our government. As an aside, what would Feingold's position on that issue be if he really thought he had a chance to be President?
Ethanol has been part of our jargon over the past few years. We see it shown on our gas pumps. We know that it is chiefly made from corn. We know that it is subsidized by our federal government.
What most of us don't hear often enough is this:
Ethanol produces worse gas mileage instead of better.
Instead of helping the fuel shortage, it exacerbates that problem.
Those of us using 'reformulated' fuel pay an even greater price since that reduces mileage as well.
Ethanol requires something in the range of 1,000 gallons of water for every gallon of ethanol produced.
Water resources are being overwhelmed by the amount consumed to produce the ethanol that is forced on us.
A small ethanol plant equals the water consumption of a community of 10,000 people.
People who know suggest that we will create semi-arid land where farm land once existed through depletion of supplies.
We know that politicians from the West already have their eyes on our water resources.
Ethanol is highly corrosive thus creating distribution problems over longer distances.
Ethanol plants are literally popping up all over the Midwest because the plant must be close to the user.
Ethanol breaks down very quickly thus making it impossible to be stored effectively over time.
Ethanol has created significant issues for farmers who raise the food we eat.
Farmers are, expectedly, rushing to plant more and more corn because the market is being stimulated
Corn-based food products are rising in cost.
Other grain-based products are in shorter supply thus increasing those food costs too.
Meat costs are increasing since much of beef, poultry and pork stocks are fed corn and other grains.
Mexicans, for example, are now paying over 30% more for tortillas simply due to the ethanol they're producing.
Ethanol is seemingly loved by many politicians.
They certainly love the votes it brings them from within the farm belt.
Ethanol plays to those who want to cause us to use less and less oil when we should be drilling more and building refinery capacity.
Politicians look for quick fixes since they tend to view every problem as being part of an election cycle.
Thanks to Ty Finke (GermantownNOW reporter) who gathered and reported this information.
We wrote earlier about the proposed $1.00 per visit recycling center fee (also sometimes referred to as a 'tipping fee') a week or so ago. At that time it appeared that the village board had decided against such a tipping fee and had requested that it be pulled from the proposed budget.
The senate committee did pass Senate Joint Resolution 5 on November 14th. It is now up to Sen. Russ Decker (D), the new senate majority leader, to determine if he will schedule it for consideration by the full senate. It is important to remember that senate Democrats felt snubbed by Governor Doyle during the battle over budget items. In part, that led to the overthrow of Sen. Robson by Decker. Many believe that the Dems will permit this to be voted upon by the senate and that it will be likely to pass that body. That would send the message to Doyle that he had better give the Senate its 'due' and not embarrass them as they felt was the case last time around.
Neither have I [except when Al Gore sneaks onto my television screen], but I came across a website that is selling 'Carbon Offsets'. If I buy enough carbon offsets, they'll give me the assurance that I've canceled out all the bad stuff I'm doing to the environment. Does this also mean there is a site somewhere that will take my money and forgive me for other bad things I do or contemplate doing?
I drive an SUV that calculates out to producing 27,174 lbs of carbon dioxide per year. If I pay this company $79.95 for the first year, I'm off the hook for being such an environmental hazard. I get a static-cling window decal telling everyone how great I am and a bumper sticker. The company sends my money to somebody else who'll plant trees or build wind generator farms or whatever seems to be the 'saving grace' of the day. They assure me that all this is audited by the Center for Resource Solutions, a non-profit (which must mean I can trust them implicitly) organization that apparently knows that there really is global warming and that we humans are so smart that we can reverse it even though it seems these cycles have gone on and remain unchecked for ages.
The morning Journal Sentinel carried a brief story about the Germantown Citizens Action Coalition and attributed several points to the group's president, Larry Prodoehl.
Mr. Prodoehl reportedly stated this group of Germantown citizens wants the raises for non-bargaining village employees trimmed or eliminated and that they want the proposed recycling center 'tipping fee' dropped entirely. He reasoned that the tipping fee, expected to raise between $40,000 and $45,000 per year, was approximately the amount needed for the raises. That has been estimated at $36,000 for the initial year.
The announcement concerning the sale of Medical Associates to ProHealth Care has been expected for months and finally was made. ProHealth will buy Medical Associates for about $40 Million and the deal is expected to close around the beginning of 2008.
ProHealth owns Waukesha Memorial Hospital and Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital. Medical Associates has clinical facilities in Menomonee Falls, Hartford, Sussex, Germantown, and Waukesha. The bulk of Medical Associates' 175,000 patients are admitted to Waukesha Memorial Hospital and to Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls.
How tough must it be to have roused your membership 41 different times, only to have sand kicked in your face? That is where 'poor' Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) finds himself as the week begins in his world as U.S. Senate Majority Leader.
Sen. Reid has played to the far left side of his party and has sought, 41 times now, to end the Iraq conflict by snuffing out funding and/or imposing requirements that troop withdrawls be completed by a time-certain. In return, he has failed to gain sufficient bipartisan votes to override the veto either made or threatened by the President. It has been said that the definition of a person who is crazy is when that person continues to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome.
I don't know about you, but I am excited about having our own Sendik's in Germantown. I only wish it could be up and running in about a month!
My most recent issue with the local Pick 'N Save was finding a huge hole in the self space where minced clams were supposed to be yesterday. Apparently everyone in Germantown decided as did I that Clam Chowder was what I needed to eat last evening. That had to be the case since the empty shelf space would've easily held 100 or more tins of minced clams.
There is this 'small' treaty that has rattled around for decades and is finally back on the front burner. It is the Law of the Sea Treaty, or 'LOST'.
This treaty has been passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a vote of 17-4. I had written to Sen. Feingold, a member of this committee, asking that he NOT vote in favor of LOST. He voted in favor of LOST, but thanked me for expressing my views (which made me feel all warm and fuzzy, of course).
The Milwaukee Public School Board's Finance Committee took a vote last evening concerning whether or not to support "equal provision of employee benefits regardless of an employee's sexual orientation or family status". The committee voted 4 to 1 in favor of that change in the MPS system.
Up to now, there are four school districts that provide similar benefit coverage. Those schools are in Madison, Middleton, Sun Prairie and La Crosse. Additionally, the City of Milwaukee and MATC provide domestic partner benefits. These kinds of changes have been made elsewhere around the country so this is not new although it is still unusual.
This will likely be the last of my Blogs about my friend John. He passed peacefully with his loved ones by his side at about 11:00AM today, Wednesday, November 21, 2007. He frankly wished that he wouldn't see another Thanksgiving Day, and as late as last Saturday we talked about how imminent that day was. John received the answer to his prayers and has gone on to a better place.
John continued to teach me much right up to the very end. He fought his battle with cancer with a dignity, strength and resolve that I was amazed to see. I am not sure I'll be able to follow in his foot steps when that time comes for me, but I will have no excuse if I don't.
You have probably heard all about the 'minimum mark-up law' that prevails in Wisconsin. You' ve learned that Wal-Mart publishes a different 'Black Friday' flyer with higher prices for use in Wisconsin than in neighboring states. And on and on and on.
What you and I refer to as the 'minimum mark-up law' is actually known as the 'Unfair Sales Act'. It is, in fact, unfair to you and me; but it is more than fair to those whom it 'protects'! Two very brave lawmakers are trying to get this unfair law changed once and for all. Why do I call them brave? Because the people who want to keep this unfair law in place make lots more money with the law than without the law. That means they are going to do everything in their power to keep this from happening. That means things will get downright nasty for those who support the change. Among the groups wanting to maintain the status quo will be the liquor and malt beverage wholesalers, and the major gas station chains and operators along with the fuel wholesalers. It isn't often that profits are guaranteed by law.
While reading a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed this morning that discussed ethanol, I came across the term 'logrolling'. It just sounds sort of seamy, doesn't it? If it were something for politicians to be proud of, I imagine we'd see the term and hear the term used often during political races. Instead, this term is hidden from sight, and I don't recall ever hearing it come from the mouth of a politician...whether about himself or herself, or even someone with whom they were upset. It is, to me, reminiscent of the Lyndon Johnson era of politics. The days of 'bourbon and branch water' celebrating one's victory or another's defeat.
Back to ethanol. This Op-Ed was written by Robert Hahn, the former co-chair of the U.S. Alternative Fuels Council under President Bush 41. He discusses the relative value or lack of value that is 'ethanol'. To begin, us taxpayers are subsidizing ethanol to the tune of $0.51 per gallon when it is blended with gasoline. That subsidy is necessary to make us think we're getting value from ethanol. If there were no subsidy, we'd be paying $3.50 or more per gallon of gasoline if it contained ethanol. But of course, if there were no subsidization, there would be no ethanol since the numbers simply don't work out. Among those factors are simply poorer gas mileage and disruption of our food supplies.
A group named Liberty Counsel has published its list of merchants that fall into the 'naughty' (no mention of Christmas) and 'nice' (Christmas mentioned) categories.
Since our Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, it seems appropriate that such a list would be published. If you're of the persuasion that this matters to you as it does to me, then here is the list:
Anyone who drives has developed a bit of 'shell shock' when it comes to the prices posted on our gasoline pumps. Fluctuations of ten cents a gallon are not uncommon. Unfortunately, those fluctuations tend to be smaller when prices go lower and larger when prices go higher...or so it seems.
We see gasoline prices increasing on a regular basis and we see nothing happening that will change that trend. We're not building new refineries because the costs of complying with all the regulations makes that a foolish investment. There are oil fields available but we're not drilling. Even if we drilled and found more oil to get the cost down from $100 per barrel, we simply couldn't find refining capacity to handle the new crude. We're actually losing refinery capacity since it is even too costly to modify some of the existing refineries to stay in compliance with the constant flow of new regulations. Two such refinery closures happened in Illinois. Does it seem reasonable that those closings caused us to pay higher prices? I think so.
An old phrase admonishes..."Physician, Heal Thyself". There is new meaning to the phrase these days.
More and more, physicians are growing disenchanted with the practice of medicine. They still love to treat their patients, but they do not necessarily like the manner in which they're forced to practice medicine. Physicians have long chafed under the mantle of managed care. The idea that some 'suit' would tell a doctor how to run his or her practice simply galled the doctors.
The news came as a great surprise, just like the fact that the sun rose in the East. We still don't have the ability to keep the people who are not entitled to vote from voting.
The statewide voter registration system will not be ready for the February primary elections. It may not even be ready for the November elections. Yet the man whose responsibility this new system was has been promoted by our governor to be the legal counsel for the new Government Accountability Board. I feel all warm and fuzzy over that appointment.
This was the headline in a morning Journal Sentinel story on foreclosures increasing 67% in the month of October. That is a frightening statistic, and it was no doubt intended to be; that attracts readers.
The story went on to mention that Wisconsin ranks 22nd in the country so far as mortgage foreclosures go, and then defined that ranking as equating to 1 foreclosure for every 997 mortgages. This represented 2,506 foreclosures in Wisconsin in October.